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Treatment Strategies for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Treatment Strategies for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Every child learns and interacts with the world around them differently. Children with Sensory Processing Disorder, or SPD, sometime struggle to process the environments around them.

SPD can affect the vestibular and proprioceptive systems, which detect incoming sensory information and deliver it to the brain. Additional proprioceptive input can be very helpful for children with SPD. This is why compression clothing is often used to help children struggling with SPD. Compression wear is clothing designed specifically for kids and people with sensory issues. It provides deep pressure stimulation via tight-fitting designs and helps regulate the sensory system in the body. The use of compression wear originated from Temple Grandin's research and implementation on the effects of deep touch pressure. She found that this form of touch lends a calming effect. Occupational therapists have found that very light touch alerts the nervous system, whereas deep pressure relaxes and calms it. This is why compression gear can be a great tool for children with SPD.

Establishing daily routines is another way to help children with SPD manage their emotions due to sensory overload. SPD can cause kids to have difficulty transitioning from one activity to another or do multiple activities at one time without stress. The intensity of the reactions that come as a result of this difficulty varies from child to child. SPD can make it difficult for children to focus and settle into new activities. Establishing a routine can help prepare children for everyday shifts in activities. Carefully designed multisensory activities that challenge one or more sensory systems simultaneously can also help curb negative responses to activities. This can help rewire the way the brain integrates sensory inputs. Activities like swinging while throwing bean bags at a target can help build neural pathways, which can encourage establishing appropriate responses to stimuli.

When considering different treatments for SPD, it is important to evaluate each individual separately. There are varying levels on the spectrum of SPD. Depending on the child, SPD can result in oversensitivity (Hypersensitive) or under sensitivity (Hyposensitive). Consult a doctor and pay attention to how your child reacts to stimuli to find the best treatment options for his/her situation.

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